NOT only did 75-year-old David Flaherty start the first Ju-Jitsu club in Northwich and gain himself an MBE, he's now been awarded the highest possible grading in the martial arts world.

David was promoted to 10th Dan Black Belt by the World Organisation of Self Defence – which he said was 'a big shock'.

But David's family said 'no one deserves this grading more'.

The honour is awarded to martial artists who have given a lifetime of dedication to martial arts.

David's family said: "He's one of the strongest people we know and to be presented with this honour has always been his dream. He deserves it more than anyone."

David's story with martial arts began 65 years ago.

"I started because I got bullied at school and instead of bowing down to them, I went out and learnt boxing and judo because that was all there was at the time," the loving grandad said, who explained how he then carried on with martial arts while serving in the army.

"I got my first Dan and then I started teaching," he continued.

"Some of the students said, 'why don't you open up your own club', so I thought about it.

"I then opened the club, Mid Cheshire Budo Club, and it's still going to this day.

"I went through the Dan grades and then in 2012 I was awarded the 9th Dan."

Mid Cheshire Budo Club, part of Cheshire Budo Federation, moved to Rudheath Leisure Centre in 1976 – where it remains to this day, offering both child and adults classes in martial arts.

"I then wrote a special syllabus because I decided to take it to children who were disabled or had additional needs," David said.

"We worked with Hebden Green School and they thought it was a great idea.

"It went on for 20 years or so and I got a lot of them through to Dan grades."

David then took this onto the coaching scene, and even travelled to Canada and qualified in Russian Martial Arts.

"In 1998, I had a letter from the Prime Minister who said they had put my name forward to the Queen for an MBE for services to martial arts and community," David added, as he looked back at one of the other stand out moments in his martial arts career.

And that's not all – he has also taught countless girls and women self defence.

David has now had to take a step back from the club due to illness but his 10th Dan Black Belt is a true testament to who his family say is a 'true legend'.